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News in brief: 03 January 2013

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News in brief: 03 January 2013

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News in brief: 03 January 2013

Country/Region: Africa, Middle East and North Africa, South and East Asia, Tanzania, Iran, Syria, Libya, Indonesia

Tanzania: church leader injured in Christmas Day shooting by suspected Islamists

A church leader was critically wounded in a Christmas Day shooting by suspected Islamist separatists in Zanzibar.

The Rev. Ambrose Mkenda was shot in the face and shoulder by two attackers on a motorcycle. The shooting took place as the church leader returned to his home in Tomondo just before 8pm. He was rushed to hospital and later transferred to intensive care as his condition deteriorated.

UAMSHO (Association for Islamic Mobilisation and Propagation), an Islamist separatist group that wants semi-autonomous Zanzibar to become independent from mainland Tanzania, is suspected of carrying out the attack.

The group distributed leaflets threatening church leaders in Zanzibar in October following attacks on several churches.   

Source: Morning Star News

Iran: 50 Christians arrested at house church gathering

Around 50 Christians, mostly converts from Islam, were arrested at a house church Christmas gathering in Tehran.

The raid by 15 police and security agents happened on 27 December. The Christians had to hand over their mobile phones and personal information, including passwords to their email and social media accounts, and explain how they had come to accept Christianity. The majority were released after being interrogated, but the Rev. Vruir Avanessian, who has chronic kidney disease for which he requires dialysis, was detained. He has been taken to hospital by prison guards to receive his treatment.

The Islamic regime generally intensifies its campaign against Christians over the Christmas period.

Indonesia: rotten eggs, dung and urine thrown at congregation during Christmas Eve event

Members of Filadelfia Batak Christian Protestant Church (HKBP) came under attack by Muslims as they gathered in the open for a Christmas Eve service.

The assailants threw rotten eggs, dung and plastic bags full of urine at the congregation of around 200 people. HKBP had been subjected to a similar assault in May.

On Christmas Eve, the congregation gathered for a service in front of its property in Bekasi, West Java, which has been sealed off by the authorities. It was forced to flee and hold the service in the compound of a police station.

HKBP has been denied a building permit despite a Supreme Court ruling that one be granted and the site reopened.

Syria: Christian man kidnapped and beheaded by rebels

A 38-year-old Christian man was kidnapped and beheaded by opposition fighters in Syria.

A respected Christian figure reported the brutal murder of Andrei Arbashe, which happened in the northern town of Ras Al-Ayn. He had recently married, and his wife is pregnant.

Andrei was kidnapped after his brother was heard criticising the behaviour of the rebels. His body was found by a roadside, surrounded by hungry dogs.

In November, the Syrian opposition attacked Ras Al-Ayn, entered the Christian quarter and ordered residents to leave; more than 200 families were driven out.

Libya: Two church workers killed in bombing of Egyptian church building

Two church workers were killed in the bombing of a building belonging to an Egyptian church in Libya.

The incident in Dafniya, near Misrata, on Sunday (30 December) was the first major assault on a Christian target in Libya since the revolution.

Expatriates from Egypt and other African countries along with Europeans comprise the overwhelming majority of the small Christian community in Libya.

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Daily prayer

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  • “Jesus Christ performed tremendous miracles in all our lives through this Shalom Camp.” A pastor spoke of how God had worked through a Barnabas-sponsored weekend Bible camp for persecuted Christians in Sri Lanka. The camp was attended by believers from five different churches that had been the target of threats or attacks by Buddhist or Hindu extremists. The participants heard teaching on the Biblical basis for persecution and took part in group discussions; they came away refreshed and encouraged, and for many the camp was a time of great spiritual renewal. Give thanks to the Lord for the peace He has brought to these persecuted believers, and ask that the weekend will continue to bear much fruit in their lives. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 14 hours ago

  • Pray for a church leader in Sri Lanka, S.S. Johnpillai, who was threatened at gunpoint by attackers who claimed to be Special Forces officers. The minister was in a hut next to his church building in Guadalupe, Trincomolee when, he said, the men “appeared out of nowhere”. The intruders put a gun to Johnpillai’s head and accused him of holding a Communion service in honour of the founder of the Tamil Tigers, the government’s opponents in the country’s long and bloody civil war. The government had that day made it a criminal offence to commemorate the group. The gunmen ignored Johnpillai’s protests that he had not dedicated Communion to the group’s founder, and they threatened to shoot him. Ask the Lord to support and strengthen Johnpillai as he recovers from this terrifying ordeal. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Tue, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Lift up to the Lord persecuted Christians in Sri Lanka, where at least 65 anti-Christian incidents took place during 2013, including repeat attacks on several believers and their property in October 2013. However, a Sri Lankan government minister from a Buddhist nationalist party denied the accounts, saying that they might be “made up”. The minister claimed that Sri Lankans are “one family … trying to live together after a long civil war”. Pray that the Sri Lankan government will recognise the danger that our brothers and sisters face from militant Buddhists and that the authorities will provide effective protection for vulnerable Christians. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Mon, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Condemned Christian mother Aasia Bibi’s final appeal hearing is scheduled to take place tomorrow (14 April) having been deferred twice. She was sentenced to death for blasphemy in November 2010 having been falsely accused of insulting Muhammad following an argument with Muslim co-workers. Aasia has been languishing in jail since the accusation was made in June 2009. Pray that her appeal will finally go ahead and that the judges will have the courage to acquit and release Aasia; there are concerns that they may give in to pressure from hardline Islamists who have been calling for her execution. Pray that Aasia, her husband and children will know the Lord’s peace as they await the verdict. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sun, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Indians have started going to the polls this week in a general election that is taking place in phases until 12 May. The ruling, secular Congress party is expected to be defeated by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). This would be an ominous outcome for the country’s Christian minority. The BJP has given support to extremist groups that attack Christians; states under the party’s rule have generally experienced a rise in anti-Christian violence. It has introduced anti-conversion laws on a state level, and has pledged to introduce national legislation to curb "missionary" activity and end proselytising if elected nationally. Pray for wisdom for Indians as they vote and that the outcome will result in a just government that upholds the rights and freedoms of all citizens. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sat, Apr 2014 00:00

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